Oh happy day! Yesterday while leaving a callback for the National Tour of a musical I got a message on my phone that there was a brand new F&L list, and that it was huge. I immediately hopped onto the official website and began scrolling down while I was on the subway. With each passing card my jaw dropped a little more, my heart began to beat a little quicker and my excitement became too much for me to handle!

"This is what we live for!" I thought.

Despite the frustration that everyone's feeling towards Konami for not having scheduled F&L lists anymore, you have to admit, it does make it that much more exciting when they do happen. This one arrived on a Thursday afternoon when nobody was even thinking about it and it was massive. My social media blew up with mostly glowing reviews of the list and how excited everyone was that Konami was finally putting so many powerful cards to bed, and scaling back the power of decks that have dominated our game for over a year.

It was a beautiful sight and I'm more excited for the next two sets than I was before. This list is the definition of a game changer and instead of going through it card by card, I think it's a little more appropriate to attack this one deck by deck.

But first we'll start with the more generic cards. Let's begin.

Reinforcement of the Army: Limited
This powerful spell's been showing up everywhere lately. From Clownblade to Satellarknights, to Nekroz and Heroes, Igknights and Shaddolls – there wasn't a single deck you couldn't fit a few Reinforcement of the Army into. Warrior themes are also showing no signs of going away with the new Black Luster Soldier Ritual deck on the horizon, so the spell needed some sort of restriction. The up side for most of those decks that lost Reinforcement of the Army is that you've got a replacement ready to go.

Heroes have E – Emergency Call, Satellarknights will fall back to using Satellarknight Skybridge, Igknights are getting more Pendulums and have Summoner's Art, Clownblade is about to change over to a more Performapal-heavy version while Shaddolls and Nekroz are probably never going to see the light of day again (but more on that in a minute).

#####CARDID= 16843 #####

I don't think anyone's surprised to see Reinforcement of the Army going back to Limited, where it previously was for many years, but I also don't think this change will affect the competitive scene too much. Asia's OCG hasn't had more than one copy in years and Nekroz, Heroes, Clownblade and Satellarknights all won their time in the spotlight there anyways.

Evilswarm Exciton Knight: Forbidden
Talk about a shock! Exciton Knight's one of the most deadly cards in the game. Its quick-effect is so poorly designed most people didn't believe it was real until it was officially printed. Exciton Knight let your opponent take advantage of you if you placed too many cards to the field, or gave them the option of mounting an incredible comeback at any point in the duel.

This Light Fiend was so powerful that many decks began using multiple copies to ensure they could eventually wipe the field for massive card advantage. You may have an answer for the first Evilswarm Exciton Knight, but chances were slim that yo could stop two.

Outside of that recent trend most decks only used one, so Limiting Exciton Knight would have changed nothing. This deadly Xyz Monster is among the best ever printed and with the age of Pendulums on the rise, a card that can nuke the entire field so easily had to go.

I can't say I'll miss it, but it was fun while it lasted. This change is going to drastically effect the competitive scene and heavy trap decks using non-chainable traps may very well make an amazing comeback.

Mathematician: Limited
This little Spellcaster screamed trouble the moment it was announced in Dragons of Legend. Foolish Burial has been Limited for an extremely long time, so a monster that could send anything Level 4 or lower from your deck to the graveyard and drew you a card if it was destroyed by battle was crazy. Mathematician found its way into a ton of top decks and virtually every rogue deck could splash it.

Burning Abyss and Shaddolls have loved this nerd for quite awhile, but most recently Nekroz had even begun using it to send Glow-Up Bulb to the graveyard for easy access to Herald of the Arc Light.

Mathematician's 1500 ATK was nothing to scoff at either. It's stronger than Armageddon Knight – a monster with a very similar, albeit limited effect and could crash with something like Satellarknight Deneb to get your engine going and net you a free card. Mathematician was a problem, but never really felt like a particularly big one, which is a bit ironic. This Limiting will certainly change a lot in the TCG, including the fact that we can't just replace cards lost to the F&L list with extra copies of Mathematician. (I'm looking at you, Burning Abyss.)

Apoqliphort Towers: Forbidden
Qliphort Scout: Limited

The first ever successful Pendulum deck may have been falling to the wayside over the past few months, but it was still having success at all levels of tournament play and in some regards, was as powerful as ever thanks to Wavering Eyes and the "Towers Turbo" variant.

Qliphorts debuted a little over a year ago and have still been taking Regional Top 8's left and right thanks to the almost un-killable Apoqliphort Towers. Towers being Forbidden is a great thing and may have been enough to curb the theme, because Towers Turbo was the most popular variant, but the Limiting of Qliphort Scout was the final nail in the coffin.

#####CARDID= 17990 #####

This change is going to drastically impact the competitive scene, because Qliphorts won't be competitive anymore. The deck's officially too fragile and way less consistent. I also expect Number 52: Diamond Crab King to see virtually no play as a result, as it was only being used as an out to Apoqliphort Towers; everyone's Extra Deck just got a little more space.

I, along with many in the community, will not miss trying to overcome the Qliphort armada.

El Shaddoll Fusion: Limited
El Shaddoll Construct: Forbidden

If Konami's goal was to make Shaddolls unplayable they succeeded. Not only was it a huge blow to Limit Mathematician, Limiting El Shaddoll Fusion was even more damaging. The deck was never the most consistent, because you only had six solid Fusion Spells and couldn't search them out in a quick manner, often relying on the very slow Shaddoll Hedgehog. With only four copies of their best Fusion Spells left, and their first turn play hindered by Mathematician's shift to one per deck, the strategy was going to be even more inconsistent and would probably see an insane drop in competitive use.

However, with El Shaddoll Construct hitting the Forbidden side of things, the deck's officially dead. No longer can you destroy any Special Summoned monster. No longer can you freely run the best Light engines in the game. No longer can you Fusion Summon Construct on Turn 1, thinning your deck by a handful of cards and then setting Shaddoll Beast to recover your Fusion Spell and score a quick +1. The deck's best opening play was eliminated, as was its ability to deal massive damage during the Battle Phase with El Shaddoll Fusion, while handling powerful monsters.

El Shaddoll Fusions Limited status also makes the deck lose even harder to chainable traps, as they've got no good way to dodge anything.

Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk: Limited
Much like Shaddolls, if Konami's goal was to make Ritual Beasts unplayable, they've succeeded. While not nearly as harsh as the treatment Shaddolls got, Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk was the entire deck. You needed multiple copies so you could always go off and search your deck for any card you needed. The deck can still be played with only one copy, because you only need one to loop through your searching, but the consistency – which was never the decks strong point – is now gone. The whole thing's also more fragile, because a single Black Horn of Heaven or Solemn Warning can easily force a scoop. You've got to always be able to de-contact Ulti-Cannahawk away, otherwise your day is done.

Even more than that, Spirutual Beast Rampengu no longer gives you access to Spiritual Beast Cannahawk, drastically weakening your second-best Turn 1 play using Ritual Beast Tamer Elder. Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk being Limited is unfortunate, because the deck wasn't going to be super relevant moving forward anyway, and I take responsibility for it. I've championed this strategy's power since day one and have lead the charge, and today I say "Goodnight, Sweet Prince."

You will be missed by everyone but Konami Feature Match writers.

Burning Abyss
Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss: Limited
Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss: Semi-Limited

Out of all of the top decks that were affected by the F&L list, Konami was most kind to Burning Abyss. While they're still extremely powerful because Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss is still at three and Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss is still around, Burning Abyss lost some consistency and became a lot more demanding of its pilot. With only one Graff, your first turn play is severely hindered. Xyz Summoning Dante, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, detaching Graff to send three cards to the graveyard and Special Summoning Cir was all too common and now it just won't happen consistently. Dante's still very easy to make, but the chances of milling useless cards skyrocketed. You've lost three extremely important monsters and only have one Mathematician to replace them with.

You'll also have to be very careful about when you use your Graff and worry about it getting banished, which would shut down your access to Barbar, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss; the deck's amazing finisher. Overall though, I expect Burning Abyss to stick around thanks to Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss. It's an incredible answer to floodgates and Pendulum Scales.

The hit to the deck is relevant, but the answer lies in running more Cagna, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, Fiend Griefing and a return to Kuribandit. I'm not too worried about Burning Abyss moving forward: the decks just gone from very unfair, to mildly unfair.

Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz: Forbidden
Nekroz of Brionac: Limited
Nekroz of Unicore: Limited

Oh how the mighty have fallen. It's my personal belief that Qliphorts, Shaddolls and Nekroz are 100% dead. There's just no good way to make it work anymore. In OCG land, Nekroz were the best deck with only one Brionac, one Unicore, one Reinforcement of the Army and even one copy of each Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands and Senju of the Thousand Hands. But the TCG hit them where it hurts by kicking Shurit out of the game.

Shurit opened up a ton of plays by making Nekroz Cycle and Nekroz Mirror into free Ritual Summons. It searched out any Nekroz card by way of Brionac when it was tributed and was easily recycled thanks to Unicore and even Dance Princess of Nekroz and Exa, Enforcer of Nekroz. There was always some way to get Shurit back to your hand or on the field to tribute it, which is why Limiting Shurit only slowed the deck down but didn't curb its power at all. With Shurit out and only one Brionac, the consistency is almost entirely gone. The deck's going to rely heavily on resolving Senju or Manju, which were always important, but were never the be-all end-all unless your hand was unplayable.

#####CARDID= 17926 #####

The lone Unicore makes Nekroz Kaleidoscope a lot worse as the game progresses and eliminates the endless recycling of powerful Nekroz monsters from your graveyard. Thanks to Nekroz of Trishula and the Performages, you may still see Nekroz steal a top spot here and there at a Regional, but I wouldn't put money on it. It just lost six drastically important cards and Evilswarm Exciton Knight, which was way more important than meets the eye.

Much like the Forbidding of the Dragon Rulers, I will never ever miss sitting across the table from Nekroz.

Changes That Don't Matter
Legendary Six Samurai – Shi En: Unlimited
Chaos Sorcerer: Unlimited

These two powerful monsters have been doing nothing for a while now and an extra copy won't change that. Samurai need Gateway of the Six to be relevant and that card is so unfair that it just shows how bad the theme is in general.

Chaos Sorcerer is good, but most decks only ever want two copies anyway. This is largely irrelevant.

Changes That Could Matter
Spellbook of Fate: Unlimited
Geargiagear: Unlimited

I'm most iffy on Spellbook of Fate, because the theme is a slow one, so getting back Fate right now shouldn't change anything. The format's about to get very fast thanks to Pendulums and more Kozmo monsters, so even with a full suite of Fates Spellbooks won't be able to keep up. Could they sneak into a Regional Top 8? Sure. The Quick-Play is that good. But I'd put money on Nekroz having continued success before Spellbooks ever would.

Geargiagear, however, is going to matter. How much I'm not sure, but it's one of the strongest themed traps ever printed. It's an instant Rank 4 Xyz that's a +1 and thins your deck by two cards. The fact that Gear Gigant X can search Cyber Dragon Core as a perfect answer to the big Kozmo spaceships is really appealing. Geargiarmor's never been bad, but the deck couldn't deal with Nekroz, Burning Abyss or Shaddolls without Geargiagear. "Proect the Armor" just wasn't good enough when those strategies had a ton of ways to kill it and did it all for free.

Now though, two out of three of those decks are gone and one is less consistent. Geargia could easily become relevant again thanks to this breath of new life.

As two new sets and two powerful Structure Decks are about to drop, this F&L list may not have even been needed, because the themes and cards emerging are that powerful. But it's nice to know which decks you don't have to worry about moving forward.

I'm feeling excited and re-energized about Yu-Gi-Oh! thanks to this Forbidden and Limited list and look forward to trying out some of my favorite rogue picks again without Shaddolls and Nekroz around. Pendulums are insanely powerful and lightning fast, but as long as you've got a deck in mind that can handle powerful traps and Pendulum Scales, anything is possible now that Extra Deck monsters aren't a huge liability anymore. Right now my top rogue picks would have to be Yang Zing, Frogs and Infernoids with shout outs to Blackwings and Deskbots.

What do you think of this Forbidden and Limited list? Are you satisfied? Did Konami miss anything by a mile? Should Dante have been Semi-Limited? What about Satellarnights? Are you mad they were left unscathed? Let me know below!

-Pasquale Crociata

Pasquale's from Long Island, New York, but has lived in New York City for eight years where he earned a BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University. Outside of the Yu-Gi- Oh! community he's a working Actor, Model and Singer. Those interested in keeping up with his Acting career can check out his website www.PasqualeCrociata.com and 'Like' his Facebook Page! If you want more of Pasquale's Yu-Gi-Oh! content, check out and Subscribe to his YouTube Channel.